General Question

ben's avatar

Do I need to replace my whole bike tire or just the tube?

Asked by ben (7968 points ) August 29th, 2008 from iPhone

A medium sized nail just punctured my back tire, giving me a flat… Can I get away with just replacing the tube?

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16 Answers

NecroKing's avatar

If it’s punctured deep you’ll need to change both, but if shallow then just the tube.

AstroChuck's avatar

How worn is the tire? How big is the puncture? I’ve gotten a few flats and if the hole wasn’t too large and my tire had a decent amount of tread I would just replace the tube. However, with my 27” 100+ psi tires, just about any puncture meant a sizeable hole and would warrent replacement.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

You should be able to boot the tire, unless it’s a narrow, high-pressure clincher. Ordinary duck tape, applied in a couple of layers, works well for this – or you can get a Slime tire liner and worry less about punctures in the future. If the nail went through the sidewall, though, you’ll have to replace the tire.

robmandu's avatar

Wow. I guess Nekroking thinks the tube rides outside of the tire.

I’m not sure what a “medium size” nail is… but if you can easily see daylight thru the hole, I suggest replacing the tire.

Tubes can be patched easily enough, but they’ll end up leaking. They’re only $4–5/each so, for my money, I end up just replacing.

Around Texas, I hafta worry about thorns… and those’ll end up embedded inside the tire itself, just lying in wait to pierce the (patched/replaced) tube. So, for a nail, no big deal, but in general, ensure no other foreign objects remain embedded inside the tire.

@astro, whatcha ridin’, bro’? I’m on a QRoo Kilo.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve ridden for days on a tire with a 1/2 inch gash in it. That was on the sidewall. It only became a problem when the tube started squeezing through. If your tube can get out of the hole, and the hole is on the bottom, then you’ll be getting flat after flat there. You could run a test. Do it, and see if you keep getting flats. If you do, get a new tire, pronto.

ben's avatar

Update: the nail looked bigger than it was… I think the tire is recoverable. I’ll add a little duct tape and see how it goes.

Thanks for the advice.

Knotmyday's avatar

Can’t go wrong for $1.94. Though duct tape is my preferred household repair item.

AstroChuck's avatar

God. Is there anything duct tape can’t fix?

NecroKing's avatar

A broken leg?

emilyrose's avatar

I’m not convinced that duct tape is the way to go….... you don’t want anything funky that isn’t uniform throughout the whole tire. I got a flat yesterday because the rim tape was funky and punctured my tire….. I can’t say for sure, was just my gut feeling. You can ride on tires with holes if they aren’t huge but depending how many miles you already have on them, it may be worth it to just invest in new ones (or just one as the case may be).

brownlemur's avatar

If you’re running high pressures on a road tire (100+ psi) and decide to replace just the tube, you will have a blowout. A quick fix is a dollar bill (they don’t tear like paper does), but replace that tire post-haste!

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@emilyrose, when your rim tape gets dislodged, the spoke head is the usual culprit. Replace with Velox rim tape, and you’ll never have the problem again. Also, the duct tape works pretty well for mountain bike tires. For road tires, it’s just a way to get home. I keep some wrapped around a tire lever for just that purpose.

robmandu's avatar

@AstroChuck… the set of Things That Duct Tape Cannot Fix is decreasing daily.

emilyrose's avatar

i did get some fancy rim tape. yah!!

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RosauraCaswell's avatar

The tube might get a bit exposed, and the day-to-day rolling over the hole might wear it down until the tire eventually flats out and the chemical aggression with the road will also be involved.
Generally you should replace the tire if there is a 2 millimeter cut in the tire casting. Tubes can be repaired but not tires. In my opinion replacing of tire is better rather than risiking a serious injury from a blow out at bad time. Generally now a days tube less has been more popular in electric bikes and gasoline bikes.

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